Insider: Instant Reaction: Blues 3 Lightning 1

The Tampa Bay Lightning were hoping to have the luck of the Irish on St. Patricks Day as they got a visit from the best team in the National Hockey League, the St. Louis Blues. The Lightning found out in a hurry why the Blues are the best team in the league when they scored twice in the first period, and basically controlled the play for most of the frame, out shooting the Lightning 13-6.

It did not get much better for the Lightning in the second period, as the Blues struck again, this time it was a David Perron goal to open up a 3-0 lead for the visitors. The Lightning were able to generate a bit in terms of offense, out shooting the Blues 8-3 in the frame, but when they did get good shots on net, Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak had the answer.

In the third, it was much of the same for the Lightning, generating scoring chances, but unable to get anything by Halak. The Blues were able to do a good job keeping the scoring chances to the outside and not allow many secondary scoring chances. The Lightning finally were able to break through and get on the scoreboard late in the third, when Adam Hall found Brenden Mikkellson on a 2-0n-1 for his first goal of the season and his first ever NHL goal. That provided a bit of a spark for the Lightning as they were able to generate some more scoring chances late in the game, but it would not be enough as the Blues held on to win 3-1.

The Good: Mikkelson. On a night when there was not a lot of offense, Mikkelson was the offensive spark for the Lightning, with his first ever goal in the National Hockey League. He also contributed 13:06 of ice time and was a plus one on the night.

The Bad: Another Shorty: The opening goal of the night for the St. Louis Blues, a 2-on-break that resulted in what amounted to an empty net goal for St. Louis, was scored shorthanded. Although not as much of a problem lately, that is something that has been a problem for the Lightning through out the season, and something they will need to correct going into next year.

Playoff Hopes Dashed: With the loss, the Lightning’s chances at making the postseason are all but gone at this point. Even though they are still mathematically alive, it would take an almost historic collapse from one or more of the teams above them to make a serious run at a postseason spot at this point.

Up Next: The Lightning get a visit from the Buffalo Sabres Monday night as the home stand continues on Monday night at 7:30pm